Try the usual CD LENS cleaner and then swap out the old CDROM for a new drive and try again. A new DVDRW is cheaper than a new machine or a trip to the repair counter but you see folk trying their hardest to save the old CDROM drive.
Compac Presario - I've tried everything I can think of for a novice (restores/scans for bugs, etc.) I was able to retrive all my info thru task manager, so computer contents is not an issue. The only option I can think of is to re-install windows xp but the cd rom won't work , I can't access the internet, and I don't have any back up/copies (the software came preinstalled) I talked to Compac and they no longer support XP. it seems to me it is just a corrupted software issue. Any ideas out there?